d&b speaker systems use a completely different central design philosophy than other speaker manufacturers. And to understand this approach and why it is so central to what makes these speakers special, you need a crash course in speaker 101. Relax, there will be no test, and no math. Just direct your attention to the chalkboard and we'll begin...
The most crucial items in a sound reinforcement system are simply put, the ends. That is, the microphones or other transducers on one end, and the speakers on the other. There is certainly a good deal that goes on in between, but it is at the ends where the physical engineering challenges have historically been the most daunting.
On the speaker end, you are attempting to turn electrical energy into sound. And without getting all technical, suffice to say this is trickier than it looks. No individual speaker can reproduce all of the highs and lows necessary for a full spectrum of sound. No single device does all things well.
Some years ago someone got the idea that if you could compensate electronically for some of these limitations, you could work around them. And so the 'processed' speaker system was born. And it has been modified and improved in many ways as the digital revolution has taken over our lives.
But of course, this 'processing' wasn't the only answer, because not only do individual speakers not reproduce all frequencies evenly, they don't reproduce the same way at different volume levels. So you needed to be able to monitor what the speaker was doing and change your processing accordingly.
None of this is new news; other manufacturers have gone at this problem in different ways, with differing levels of success. None were truly successful for two primary reasons. First, none of the speaker manufacturers were producing amplifiers, so they were attempting to process and control different types of amplifiers with differing power ratings, etc. Think about how well, or more accurately, poorly, Microsoft has done with making their software compatible with every conceivable system. Secondly, the digital processing simply hasn't been up to the complexity of the task until very recently.
So, the solution is clear. In order to achieve control of the speaker, you need to control, and preferably manufacture, everything from the processing electronics to the amplification to the speakers and cabinets themselves.
Now, in all fairness, d&b is not the only manufacturer to do this. One notable company based in California (among others) has been doing just this for quite some time. But they have elected to simply enclose all the electronics, amplification, and speakers into the cabinet itself. At first this seems a great solution, until you realize that the speakers you are attempting to hang from your ballroom airwall track now weigh a ton because of all that extra stuff in there. Plus you now have to supply signal cable, control cable and power to your speaker, doubling, at least, your complexity of setup.
d&b’s solution is simply to provide your processing and amplification in a single box which mates up to your speaker via standard speaker cable and voila', you have sound.
That was a long explanation to get here, but it is important to see how crucial the design philosophy of d&b is to their success.
So what makes d&b different.
First a methodical approach to efficiency. Early on when speaker processing was new, it became apparent that you could build a very strong speaker driver and then overcome it's inconsistencies with brute power. So larger and larger amplifiers were created to do just that. d&b has completely reversed that concept. They believe that if you focus primarily on efficiency, you gain fidelity, as well as lighter amplifiers and less power draw.
Second, a systemic approach to speaker design and implementation. Quite simply, when you go to d&b to purchase a speaker system, you are able to leave with everything needed to implement that system from amplifiers, to rigging, to cases, all designed to work together. d&b's focus on detail is truly awesome, a fact we witnessed firsthand when we visited their factory earlier this year.
Third, unmatched quality and attention to detail. Everything is engineered to the tiniest detail. From case hardware, to paint, to handles, to software. Nothing is left to chance. Quality control is a company mantra.